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tv   [untitled]    October 16, 2010 12:30am-1:00am PST

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you have to work within the context of the neighborhood. four architects in this neighborhood have gone on record as opposing it. that should tell you something. we are not anti everything. this neighborhood welcomes well- designed collaborative renovation. in conclusion, this is a plausible structure for giraffes in some far away place. thank you. >> good evening, commissioners. my name is geoff bingham. we bring a unique concern regarding the mansion of 940 elizabeth street. our property abuts the rear of the property. i support the requested changes
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and am strongly opposed to the proposed for level structure for three main reasons. the size and scale of the proposed project is inconsistent with the character of our historic neighborhood. this four-level structure would disrupt the stairstep pattern and rhythm of escapes on i have learned the steepest street in the world. the loss of yet another victorian cottage should not be allowed by this commission. the remodeled directly harms our friends and neighbors by blocking the light well on their main floor, it literally plunging them into darkness. i am personally opposed to the project as it directly impact my property in and adverse manner. rebuilding 940 elizabeth as a four-story structure would
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greatly reduce our access to light and sky. we will experience a significant loss of privacy, since the plan calls for above the knee looking directly into our backyard and bedroom window. unfortunately, on the backside of the proposed project, there is no 15 foot setback. if the proposed project is redesigned to remove the fourth level, retaining the existing gabled roof line, the impact will be mitigated to our satisfaction. in closing, i would like to point out -- tennessee that? the owner of 940 elizabeth has demonstrated a habit of not finishing major home repair projects, as evidenced by the noisy construction, mostly on weekends, covered by large tarps that flap loudly in the wind. this work has been going on for over a year.
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therefore, after the proposed project is hopefully redesigned and reduced in scale at your direction tonight, we request that an enforceable time limit be placed on the construction permit for whatever is eventually have -- is eventually built here. president miguel: are there any other speakers in favor of the dr? >> my name is heather hall. i live at 952 elizabeth. i was drawn there in 1994. it has been one of my favorite neighborhoods. i was able to buy a home in 2004 at my current residence, which i have up on the screen. i am here to express my desire to preserve the victorian cottage. it is my understanding that mine and the property at 940 are one of the only two remaining cottages on the street that have
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not been remodeled and reconstructed. i was dismayed to learn of the plans. as everyone has mentioned here today, it is the colossal structure that compromises the character of the neighborhood, sets precedent for future construction like this, and future drs, which might be looked at as a waste of time on your part. we have already discussed the rooflines. my downhill labor at 946 will be a continuous, solid line. it is in the middle of the block, very visually unappealing. prior to the purchase of my home, the planning commission thankfully denied a fourth story to be built 946. just the other day, when discussing this proposed discussion with a friend of mine, he commented that a four-
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story house is crazy. it is too much to the neighborhood. i have to agree that the design is not concur was or appropriate. i urge you to vote against approving the structure as proposed. it's monumental size and square footage are not necessary and do not uphold the victorian charm that is quintessential to san francisco. thank you. >> i am susie klotman, here to read a letter from the former president of friends of noe vally. ey. i respectfully request that you require the developer to make the changes the neighborhood has requested. these will enable the developers to develop the property and will preserve the harmony of the buildings in the vicinity.
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i have seen from models that have enhanced the area and remodels with damaging consequences. considered a moderate impact on neighbors. the models that were damaging were done with little or no consideration of the people living in the vicinity, and a lack of caring about the consequences of the project. one example was a remodeled 10 years ago at 925. the family that lived there, who has since moved away, wanted more space and added a structure to the rear of their house. at the time, and neighbors were not watching building notices quickly, -- closely, partly because they assumed the building would and not -- the building commission would not allow such structures. it substantially reduced the light for immediate neighborhoods and created an ouf
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place tower in a neighborhood composed of smaller homes. we welcome redevelopments. i am pro-growth and pro building. i also believe in maintaining the quality of the neighborhood. these are compatible. we ask the city to ensure that remodels and development are in keeping with the neighborhood and done with consideration of impact on those of us who live there. i request that you allow the developer to make the changes requested by the neighborhood. president miguel: thank you. >> i am the resident of 929 elizabeth street. i have lived there with my family for nearly 13 years. i am here to talk to you about the neighborhood. as the keeper of the safe list, i know my neighbors in neighborhood well. you have over 20 neighbors here.
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we have done this once before, almost eight years ago. it was because things were out of whack. the planning department put something forward that we knew was not right. we have not done that since until today. my point is levels of buildings. you have heard a little of this already. this is a map of the 900 block of elizabeth street. i have color coded for you. yellow is two levels. green is three. red is four. blue is apartments. there are a couple of apartments interspersed in the block, but the only one greater than 2 below levels high is on grandview. that is a four-level building. getting back to the context of
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levels on the 900 block of elizabeth street, on the south side, there is only one building that is four levels high. that is the one directly below me. i can tell you that is set back off the street and it does not make a difference. it is a huge tower in the back of the yard. because we live on a steep street that you have heard about, with steps for sidewalks, it means that levels do not equate. level one does not equal level one of the adjacent neighbor. that is the south side. that one anomaly was a mistake. on the north side, we have no buildings that are greater than three stories, and we have a precedent for the building department removing the fourth level on the neighbor. my husband and i did send to you -- i wanted to start with a
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letter from the architect. you have these in your packet. this is the architect confirming that the planning department did remove one level. this is a letter from the neighbor who owned the property at the time, stating that she had a little removed. this was prior to 311 notification. why aren't we being consistent? my letter to michael smith asked him what changed. nothing changed. it was not appropriate in context to have four stories then, and it is not appropriate now. thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. >> my name is sandra quano.
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my husband and i have lived on elizabeth street for almost 12 years. at first, like everyone else, i was immediately taken by the steep side walk stairs, the trees, and the love the character of the homes. it was not until much later that we learned the 900 block is well known and much loved in the city of san francisco, noted in guidebooks and travel publications. it is unique in both typography and character. the balance of what makes it exceptional is fragile and easy to overlook. during the 12 years we have lived on elizabeth street, there have been countless additions and new construction sites. we have worked together with developers in the planning department to find solutions to respect the character of the block and to minimize negative impact on adjacent neighbors. it is very rare that a project has to be taken to the planning
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commission. and yet here we are. i am here to support the dr filed on behalf of our neighborhood, requesting modifications to the project at 940 elizabeth street. the project sponsor did no community outreach. any concerns or opposition's by the neighborhood were ignored and largely undisclosed to the planning department. there have been no serious attempts to address the preservation of neighborhood character or the loss of air and light on adjacent neighbors. if you look closely at the request, they are very modest in comparison to the scope of the project. even with the requested modification, the project would have almost 3000 square feet of living space and be the largest single family house on the block. my neighbors and i are here out of concern for the character of our neighborhood and the
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preservation of the part of san francisco that is unique and much loved. please support our request for dr. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good evening. my name is john byrd. i live at 901 elizabeth street. some weeks back, my neighbors showed me drawings of the new development project at 940 elizabeth, immediately adjoining their home, and i was shocked at the size. this proposed building is three stories over a garage, effectively a four story tall monolith of a house sitting in the middle of the block. this is as tall as the one immediately up from it on a hill with a 25% grade. its height and mass are further accentuated by its flat roof. i was disappointed to learn that
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project developers had refused to show a simple courtesy to their neighbors by extending a light well to ground level. the sponge is the bedroom and bathroom of their neighbors into total darkness. extending the light well could be done with no impact on the proposed toronto. still, the developer -- no impagct on the proposed garage. still, the developer response was to retain a lawyer. the neighbors have asked that the project developers eliminate the fourth floor. i did not know it was legal to build that in a residential neighborhood in san francisco. i understand that the owner of 946 elizabeth, just next door, was informed in 2003 that she could not build a three story over a garage house on her lot.
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why should these developers get special permission? they're building would be the largest single family house on the entire block. we live on a street where we live cheek by jowl with our neighbors. we get along because we respect our neighbors' right to fresh air, a semblance of a view, and a modicum of privacy. the project double per se have chosen to ignore those courtesies. i purchased my home in 1992. it is 760 square feet. if you of my neighbors homes measure no more than 200 square feet. 90% of the houses on this block are no more than two stories tall. at more than 3000 square feet, this project is a monster. i support the application for the score at -- for
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discretionary review and hope the committee will make the developers downsize their project to something we can all live with. thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. >> good evening. my name is re-to advance. i live with my husband at 44 -- my name is rita vance. i live with my husband at 4400 elizabeth street. this affects the neighborhood from the backside. when living in an urban environment, our green space becomes vitally important. my personal green space is my backyard. it is my oasis in the city. allowing 8 four level addition to this house would significantly block my access to light and sky. that house is already large and
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close to us because it encroaches into the green zone. this project would bring it even closer. the height would also be greatly increased. i will be looking at an ugly wall in the day and a wall of lit windows at night. the lack of privacy would be tremendous. while i agree it is necessary and desirable for this commission to ensure that a remodel is pleasing from the streetview, i encourage you to also consider its looks from the back. the rear elevation, as proposed for 940 elizabeth, is clumsy at best. i have visited friends who have lovely homes, but when you walk out in the back yard you are faced with a jarring, ugly wall from a thoughtless addition to a neighbor's house in the rear. please take another look at the plans before you with a sensitive guy to both the front
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and back. president miguel: thank you. >> good evening. i live at 929 elizabeth, across the street and two doors down hill from the proposed project. i have lived here since 1998. my objection to the proposed construction is the size and scope of the project of character with the neighborhood. project sponsors did not seek input from the neighbors, nor consider the topography of the kill or the character of the neighborhood. -- topography of the hill or the character of the neighborhood. the design did not take into account the light well in the original drawings. at the time, as we speak, the light well is not fully accommodated, in my view. the project is four stories
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high, as you have heard. the only other four story structure is my downhill neighbor. that project has galvanized the neighborhood to really look at projects and how they affect the character of the neighborhood. there is historic precedent since the 925 project by neighbors, developers, the planning department, in the planning commission to adjust projects to meet the character of the neighborhood. the neighbors still live at the structure. they sought out neighborhood input before submitting the final design. developers of our up till labor made modifications after 311 a to vacation with ourselves and other neighbors to avoid discretionary review. the developer at 946 had four stories proposed in 2003 and this was reduced to three stories by the planning department of 4311.
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the developer at 919 in 2002 had a fourth story and a rear your extension removed at discretionary review by the planning commission. i would urge you to use your authority to adjust the project to accommodate the light well and to limit the project to three stories total it into the character of the neighborhood. -- to three stories total and to limit it to the character of the neighborhood. >> i am an engineer. i live at 915 elizabeth street and support the discretionary review. the building would be grossly out sized to the block and neighborhood. it is not just me and my neighbors who say that. the planning commission agreed in 2003 that proposed development of the house immediately next door was
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downsized to three stories. those projects sponsors were told a four level building was too large for the neighborhood. the steepness of the block, although the code might allow for a four level building, it would not fit in. reason and fairness would dictate the same treatment here. it strains credulity to think otherwise. this project proposes to create a 3745 square foot single-family unit, over 170% larger than the average on the block. it would be the largest and tallest in the neighborhood. city planning calls for in-fill density, creating more density of units, not monstera single- family homes. a condo on this block was revised through discretionary review. the input of the neighborhood
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reduced the mass of the building. as a result, we have a building that respects the neighborhood and provides homes for two families. discretionary review made since then. it makes sense now. to bring this project into the norms of the neighborhood, the following are needed. remove the top floor. set back the proposed third floor. most importantly, ensure that the neighbors -- that the project sponsors respect neighbors' need for light and air. that is what you see here. the project sponsors may want you to believe that the light well -- that the watsons want a light well in their garage. of course they do not. all they want is a light will to match their living of all -- light well to match their living level.
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because of the steep street, the matching light well should extend to the garage. i care passionately about this because i have lived here for more than a decade and call this block my home -- not just the house i lived in, but the block. those of us who live here understand its value. the planning commission has understood its spell you in the past. -- has understood its value in the past. we appreciate your time and consideration. >> my name is eric molson.
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i live around the corner. i have lived there for 14 years. i am licensed architect and have reviewed the proposed development. one thing that i do not think we have seen this many photographs from the front of the house. there are two trees. it is typical to see it. the project sponsors are proposing the virtual demolition of the historic cottage that was built in 1899. the front portion of the victorian cottage was saved from radical modification 31 years ago. at that time, in addition was placed at the rear of the property. it is my hope that you will accept this project for discretionary review and require that the historic cottage be preserved to maintain the unique and modest character of this block. if you disagree, at a minimum please require that the
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project's sponsors provide eighth light well that matches, not only in width, but down to the first floor window. only yesterday, they received a sketch from the project sponsors with the dimensions -- the dimension at the bottom of the proposed light well relative to their first floor bedroom. it may be a little bit difficult to understand, but what i have done to helpthis is the existin. this is the wall of the victorian cottage. this is the grade of the
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property at donna's house. we have not had a chance to verify the accuracy of the sketch. this light well has provided donna with light and air while they have lived there and for the life of the house, which was built in 1906. proposed is a light well that stops at the top of donna's bedroom windows. it is limiting the light that gets down there. what donna is asking for that it
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be moved down to that leve. >> thank you. >> i have got good news. i am the last one. i live at 936 elizabeth street with my husband don. before we retired recently, he worked at the opera house. we have lived on this street 40 years. we really like it. before we filed for the der, we went to a project sponsored in
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2010 and discussed the project. our light well was done shown on the plans. he gave us the paper and he said, write down the plans. he said that would go to the planner. in may, i believe it was may 24, 2010, white house and we -- my husband went to meet the planner. they did not know that we havd a light well. we maintain that the design does not enhance the character of the neighborhood.
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he said that the neighborhood is architecturally mixed. this is the area we showed you. this is what remains of the victorian college -- a victorian cottage. the rest of it is ugly construction. it has not been very well cared for. it meets some renovations, but it should not be destroyed. they set it on fire. then they power washed it and painted it. there is the door to their base then and there is the light well window.

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